Gift cards are worthless if store goes belly up

Gift cards are worthless if store goes belly up
Gift cards have greatly improved recently: Most of the annoying fees are gone, and you don't have to worry about them expiring. But that gift card is worthless if the store closes its doors.

If you have a Blockbuster gift card, you'd better use it right away because effective Thursday, the company is no longer accepting its gift cards.

Last August, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy. As part of the liquidation process, the court agreed the company could stop accepting gift cards. On its website, Blockbuster says it intends to honor its gift cards through April 6 and after that, that piece of plastic is worthless, no matter how much money is stored on it.

There are a couple of lessons here: As popular as they are, gift cards are not cash. Cash never expires.

And it's just one more reason why you need to use a gift card soon after you get it. You never know when a store might go out of business. This is not the first time gift card holders have been left holding the bag. And chances are, it won't be the last.